What are admissions officers looking for in the ideal candidate?

Tuesday - October 6, 2015

Continuing your studies with a Master’s is an ambitious plan. The benefits after graduation are numerous, and the invested hard work will pay off. The admission process to a Master’s programme at a prestigious university may seem endless and difficult, but if you know what you want and do your homework well in advance, there’s nothing to worry about!

trust yourselfThe application to an international Master’s programme is definitely a goose-bumps giving scenario that might intimidate even the bravest out there. There is so much to pay attention to in order to make sure you make a good impression and have a successful application. Wouldn’t it be great to know beforehand what admission officers are looking for in an ideal candidate for their programs? When it comes to specific qualities that admission officers hunt for, the portrait of the student they want is pretty well defined.

Here you have a short list of what you need to show during your Master’s interview to convince the admission officers that you are the student in the right place and at the right time:

1. Personalize your application

Admission officers get to see thousands of applications on a regular basis. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you also discard the applications that only contain a plain list of academic records and nothing more? The key to success in this case is to combine your academic background with your personal experience and other extra-curricular activities to paint a complete picture of who you are and what you can bring in. Only be careful not to overdo it; include just what’s relevant to the programme and avoid endless lists of each and every activity you’ve done outside the classroom just for the sake of it.

2. Prove your determination

Ambitious and determined candidates who know well what they want will always be looked for. If you have a clear plan in your mind concerning the reasons why you’ve chosen a particular university and a postgraduate programme and your career plans after graduation, and know how to present them this plan convincingly, you can already consider yourself accepted. Show how important it is for you to be their student and how your ambitious plans can only be achieved with their help.

3. Fit your application to each university

menIf you’re applying to more Master’s programmes, make sure not to copy-paste the same application to each of them and come up with a one-size-fits-all presentation. Even if the degrees are similar, each university is unique, so try to include a bit of its personality into your application. Do your research, read as much as possible about your desired academic institution, ask current students or alumni, and tailor your documents to what they are looking for. Admission officers will notice in a second if you’ve learned by heart your lines no matter who you are talking to.

4. Present your contribution

Just like in any deal, it is not only about what the programme can bring to you, but also how you can contribute to your new university’s academic activity. What are your qualities? What makes you fit for the programme? Think about it, because your personal contribution is what differentiates you from the rest of candidates, and can play a crucial role for the officers when they take the final decision.

5. Be careful with the details

It may sound clichéd, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about this golden rule. Your application documents are like a mirror that reflects not only your academic record and further activities, but also your personality. So it goes without saying that you should double (or maybe triple?) check everything, to make sure that no typos, mistakes, misspellings or wrong information haven’t slipped in here and there. The same goes for the interview. Make sure you dress appropriately and respect the protocol that such a situation requests. After all, you want to show them the best version of yourself that deserves to be accepted.

6. Be confident

In a nutshell, that’s pretty much what you have to know before, during, and after submitting your application. Are you still pondering upon what programme to choose? The QS Course Finder directory can give you a hand and help you find your dream course today. Don’t wait any longer and make the first steps right now. Good luck!